Create a Meaningful 5-Minute Bedtime Ritual
- Create a 5- to 10-minute ritual or practice that helps define the beginning of your sleep period and prepare you for a good night’s sleep
- This practice should be separate from your typical “getting ready for bed” routine that may include things like brushing your teeth or washing your face.
- The rituals can take any form you want. They can be outer, physical rituals (like stretching) or inner, mental, or spiritual rituals.
- Examples: reading something inspirational, meditating, journaling, prayer, setting an intention for your rest, a breathing practice, or even sharing with your significant other what you’ve appreciated about them that day.
Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.
Why Is This Practice Important?
Sleep is an extremely important part of our well-being. Often we don’t get enough. Even if we do, the quality can suffer — depending on the day, your mental state, or even your own thoughts about how good a sleeper you are.
Lack of good sleep can have immediate effects on our mood and daily experience, and longer-term effects on our health. Believe it or not, good sleep takes practice, and it starts before you close your eyes.
One of the best places to start practicing at getting good sleep is in creating your sleep environment, which can include both your physical and mental space. Turning your attention away from the clutter of the day and clearing your space and mind can go a long way toward ensuring you are prepared to successfully hit the sheets.
Consider that your time preparing to sleep is just as important as time spent warming up for a workout. It puts you in the right physical and mental state to do the best job possible at what’s happening next.
It might not seem like you’re actually “doing” sleep in an active way, but just like creating a routine is helpful for a child, it can be helpful to create cues that tell your mind it’s time for bed. This week’s Well-Being Practice is about exploring a potential bedtime ritual to see what practices are helpful for you in achieving that coveted good night of sleep.
For More on This Practice
Dr. Steve Orma — a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and stress — overcame insomnia himself, so he knows how a lack of sleep can negatively impact energy, health, and well-being. For Dr. Orma’s thoughts on the importance of a bedtime ritual, click through to this podcast and jump to 12:50.